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Injured man spends night on Mt. Shasta with climbing rangers after night rescue deemed too dangerous

Mount Shasta Herald
Fall colors on Lake Street in Mount Shasta in the fall of 2004.

After injuring both of his ankles in a fall on Mt. Shasta Monday afternoon, a 23-year-old Orinda man stayed the night on the mountain with two rangers who were deployed to help.

James Spencer Wallace called 911 at about 5:15 p.m. on Oct. 5 to report his accident, and a ping from his phone placed him off the Avalanch Gulch trail route at about 12,000 feet, according to a press release from the Siskiyou County Sheriff Office's Search and Rescue coordinator Deputy Mike Burns.

California Highway Patrol northern division Air Operations out of Redding requesting A California Highway Patrol helicopter responded and located Wallace, however due to his location and impending nightfall they were unable to rescue him. The helicopter team transported U.S. Forest Service climbing rangers Nick Meyers and Forest Coots near to Wallace's location, Burns said. The rangers were able to stabilize the injured man.

A United States Army National Guard helicopter capable of doing night operations was requested through the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services. However, due to the area they were also unable to perform a rescue, Burns said.

Climbers from Siskiyou County Sheriff’s Office Search and Rescue, Jackson County Sheriff’s Office Search and Rescue, and an additional USFS climbing ranger began to hike to the scene, Burns said. Meyer relayed that there was active rock fall and a night rescue would be dangerous.

A decision was made for Meyers and Coots to locate a safety zone and prepare to stay the night, which they did.

At approximately 7:30 a.m. the following moring, CHP H-14 responded back to the scene and was able to safely hoist Wallace off the mountain and transport him to the Old Ski Bowl, where Mt. Shasta Ambulance took him to a local hospital.